Everything about Cystic Acne: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment


Cystic acne is the severest form of acne that is marked by painful cysts and inflammation. This type of acne is also more likely to leave behind scars on the skin. While it is most prevalent in teenagers, adults can also experience cystic acne due to hormonal fluctuations and other external factors. 

Because of how painful and prominent these cysts can be, dealing with frequent acne can often be a traumatic experience. Also, the scars left behind by cystic acne may affect one’s confidence. Therefore, if your skin is prone to developing cystic acne, you must try out effective treatments for the same. Understanding the root cause, prevention strategies, and treatments can help you curate the perfect skincare routine for cystic acne.

What Is Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne is a type of acne marked by severe inflammation. It results in large and painful cysts under the skin that are filled with pus. Cystic acne is due to clogged sebaceous glands that get infected with bacteria. The congestion of oil and dead skin in the gland, along with bacterial growth, lead to pus formation, redness, and inflammation. Cystic acne mostly appears on the face but can also appear on the back, butt, chest, neck, upper arms, and shoulders.

What Are The Reasons For Getting Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne is a result of excess oil on the skin that leads to clogged pores and inflammation. Some of the common root causes for cystic acne are the following:

  • Hormonal changes during puberty or menopause
  • Stress
  • Frequent use of oil-based or greasy cosmetics and skincare products
  • Certain medications like corticosteroids
  • Genetic factors
  • High humidity or excessive sweating

How To Identify Cystic Acne?

Cystic acne appears as large cysts below the surface of the skin, often accompanied by pain, redness, and inflammation in that area. Apart from the size and inflammation, cystic acne is filled with pus. You may see a white head on the surface of the skin that oozes pus, while the cyst remains below the skin surface. If you notice such acne on your face frequently, you may need to add cystic acne treatments to your skincare routine. Severe cystic acne may also require dermatologist intervention.

Best Cystic Acne Treatments

1] Benzoyl Peroxide

According to studies, Benzoyl Peroxide bears anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can treat cystic acne. This ingredient is available in different concentrations in various topical skincare products. As a beginner, you can use a Benzoyl Peroxide face wash, but if you need something stronger, then creams and lotions might help.

2] Azelaic And Salicylic Acids

Azelaic Acid encourages faster skin renewal to reduce blemishes and has antimicrobial properties to tackle acne-causing bacteria. It is also one of the top-rated skin brighteners. Salicylic Acid exfoliates the skin and removes oil and congestion from pores. Azelaic And Salicylic Acids could tackle cystic acne when used as topical skincare products.

3] Antibacterial Creams

Bacterial growth is the root cause of inflammation in cystic acne. Antibacterial creams can nip this root cause in the bud. They can reduce inflammation and heal cystic acne quickly. Health Web Magazine offers information about various creams that have antibacterial ingredients. You can try these to treat and prevent cystic acne.

4] Isotretinoin

According to studies, Isotretinoin is one of the most effective treatments for severe acne. It is a multi-tasking ingredient that encourages cell renewal, reduces inflammation, and decreases sebum production to tackle cystic acne from all fronts. Oral or topical isotretinoin is prescribed by dermatologists for severe cystic acne. For milder acne, you can use Retinol, a gentler form of Vitamin A.

5] Steroid Injections

For large and inflamed cystic acne, your dermatologist may administer a steroid injection. Corticosteroid injections reduce inflammation and may prevent scarring. However, overuse of steroids or personal administration is dangerous. 

Some dermatologists may incise and drain the cyst as an alternative to steroid injections. In the case of scarring, any of the top-rated skin brighteners can expedite the skin’s healing process.

6] Birth Control Pill

Birth control pills may help with the treatment of cystic acne in adult women. These pills contain estrogen and progesterone that regulate sebum production in the skin. However, you must consult your doctor before trying birth control pills for cystic acne. 

How To Prevent Cystic Acne

1] Keep Your Pores Clean

Congested pores are the breeding grounds for bacteria that cause cystic acne. Therefore, you must always keep your pores clean, especially if you have oily skin. Use gentle cleansers twice a day to unclog the pores. If you use makeup during the day, then first use a makeup remover at night and then use a mild face wash to keep your pores completely clean. Use skin cleansers and moisturizers that are formulated for oily skin. Health Web Magazine offers information on various skincare products that can keep your pores clean and acne-free.

2] Use Light-Weight Skincare Products And Makeup

If you have oily skin prone to congestion and acne, you must only use oil-free lightweight products. Avoid makeup or skincare products that contain oils and look for lightweight gel or lotion consistencies instead. Another great way to avoid skin congestion is to use multi-tasking products instead of layering different creams and serums. Perbelle CC Cream is a promising option for this because it offers the hydrating properties of Hyaluronic Acid along with the skin-brightening properties of Niacinamide. Plus, it covers blemishes and pigmentation, and you can skip base makeup when you use this cream.

3] Protect Your Skin

Apart from cleaning your skin well, you must also protect it against sources of inflammation. Wear sunscreen every day as UV rays may aggravate your acne by sensitizing your skin. Wash your makeup brushes and towels daily to prevent bacterial growth. Pat dry your skin instead of rubbing, and don’t squeeze any existing pimples as it can spread the infection. Also, try to manage your stress as it can also lead to acne breakouts. By following these simple precautionary measures, you may prevent cystic acne to a large extent.


Cystic acne is the most painful type of acne that not only causes physical pain but also induces stress because of the frequent inflammation and scarring. Leaving it untreated is a rookie mistake as this can cause more acne in the future and deeper scars on the skin. You must educate yourself on the causes of cystic acne along with prevention and treatment strategies. Visit Dermavel, for affordable, safe and painless removal of skin imperfections.

Mild to moderate cystic acne may be treatable at home with topical products containing salicylic acid, azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or antibacterial ingredients. You can pair these with a gentle cleanser and a multi-tasking cream for hydration and brightening. Perbelle CC Cream might be a good option for you as it offers skin-brightening and hydrating ingredients along with coverage.

For severe acne, you must consult a dermatologist for effective treatment options. These may include isotretinoin, steroid injections, or birth control pills. 

By following these treatment strategies and prevention tips, you can fight the battle against cystic acne and clear up your skin!